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The Air Force's Love For Fighter Pilots Is Too Big To Fail

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the people-aren't-as-expensive-as-robots dept.

The Military 253

Daniel_Stuckey writes "Just look at what's been going on throughout the Air Force. It's as if drones pose such a threat to traditional means of aerial warfare that the flying service's historically kneejerk resistance to anything too closely aligned with sweeping technological change finds it bristling today at prospective gamechangers of the unmanned sort. Nevermind that the AF's active remotely-piloted combat aircraft outnumber its active manned bomber inventory by about 2-to-1. For perspective, as Lt. Col. Lawrence Spinetta writes in the July issue of the Air & Space Power Journal, an official USAF publication, consider that 'RPA [remotely-piloted aircraft] personnel enjoy one wing command' while fighter pilots control 26. In other words, 'the ratio of wing-command opportunities for RPA pilots versus those who fly manned combat aircraft is a staggering 1-to-26.' Such personnel policies that seemingly favor manned standbys are part and parcel of deep-rooted, institutional stigmas. In a 2008 speech, General Norton Schwarz, who served as AF chief from 2008 to 2012, did not mince words when he said that this systemic obsession with all-things manned has turned the Air Force's swelling drone ranks into a 'leper colony.'"

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Is Lepercy Fatal? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44231459)

I only ask because the Air Force's drone pilots have been executing a holocaust of Muslims.

I know Islam is the worst relgion (in a group of awful religions) and are violent, but do we really have to be this violent?

Do drone pilots have nightmares about the people they murder?

Real War (1)

Entropy98 (1340659) | about a year ago | (#44231635)

Drones are effective for some things but I doubt they'd be effective in a real war vs a competent adversary.

Re:Real War (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44231845)

A competent adversary would know beforehand that a real war would cost him more than could be gained in lost trade alone, assuming complete destruction of the opposition with no losses whatsoever to itself.

This is why we're down to having only the incompetent adversaries we create as budgetary justifications.

Re:Real War (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44231861)

Drones can have several times the combat radius / on station loiter time of a manned plane.
Drones can withstand G Forces that would turn a person into soup.
Drones can be sent on missions that would be deemed too high risk for a human.
Drones can be smaller and stealthier than airplanes with life support systems.

I think the advantages of drones would be even more pronounced in a "real war".

Re:Real War (2)

Entropy98 (1340659) | about a year ago | (#44231907)

Drones can have several times the combat radius / on station loiter time of a manned plane.
Drones can withstand G Forces that would turn a person into soup.
Drones can be sent on missions that would be deemed too high risk for a human.
Drones can be smaller and stealthier than airplanes with life support systems.

I think the advantages of drones would be even more pronounced in a "real war".

Drones require RF transmitters that can be jammed or destroyed.

Re:Real War (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44232131)

You're assuming things stay at today's lower level of autonomy. It seems like most of the drone missions are pretty boring "fly here, circle this, drop bomb" type stuff. Only step three really requires a human presence. With no G forces holding it back, drones could potentially outfly an opponent with minimal or no input from a user.

Re:Real War (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44232323)

Potentially. In the future.

You don't earn institutional respect through conjecture and predictions about how uber-advanced the future is gonna be. Not unless you're Dick Cheney.

Why should the drone pilots be any more important than the mechanics, at this point? Do they go through the same rigorous tactical training that other pilots go through? Same educational requirements? Have they even proven themselves in actual combat, demonstrating their tactical and strategic skills in advancing the front-line?

Re:Real War (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44232351)

" drones could potentially outfly an opponent with minimal or no input from a user."

And what if the enemy is another drone?

celle

Re:Real War (1)

Entropy98 (1340659) | about a year ago | (#44232383)

The conversation was about the current Air Force. Sure you could use drones against known stationary targets, same as a cruise missile, but letting them pick their own targets could lead to all sorts of problems. And do you need to outfly your opponent or his missile?

Re:Real War (3, Informative)

Lisias (447563) | about a year ago | (#44232683)

Drones can have several times the combat radius / on station loiter time of a manned plane.
Drones can withstand G Forces that would turn a person into soup.
Drones can be sent on missions that would be deemed too high risk for a human.
Drones can be smaller and stealthier than airplanes with life support systems.

I think the advantages of drones would be even more pronounced in a "real war".

Drones suffer from communications lags. Just a half of a second delayed command, and your drone bites the dust.

One must encrypt, emit, retransmit, relay, receive, decrypt and then analise the drone's data before the pilot could see it, react (adding our neuro system own delays to the process) to then encrypt, emit, relay, retransmit, receive, decrypt the commands in order to be obeyed by the drone.

Until Optical Computers and Quantum Entanglement Communications do exists, I don't think drones will be successful in dog fights.

Re:Real War (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#44231923)

Drones are effective for some things but I doubt they'd be effective in a real war vs a competent adversary.

Why not? The limiting factor on a manned fighter's turning radius, time-on-station, cost, and political expendibility, is the man. Since drones are cheaper, you can employ more of them. A manned fighter might defeat an air-superiority drone, but it won't defeat a swarm of them. A huge cost for manned fighters is training. Drones don't have to be trained. They just have to be programmed. The drone pilots can do most of their training on simulators. In past wars, pilots have spent 95% of their air time flying to and from their targets, and only a few minutes engaging them. With drones, you can have less experienced/capable pilots ferry the drones to the target, then have your best ace take over for the dog fight. If your ace screws up, he learns from the mistake. If a manned pilot screws up, he is dead, and all his skills and experience die with him.

We are in the process of spending nearly a trillion dollars on the F-35. It is, by far, the most expensive weapon system in the history of the world. We spend a tiny fraction of that on drone development. Yet I predict that, within a decade, air superiority drones will make the F-35 obsolete.

Re:Real War (1)

codegen (103601) | about a year ago | (#44232169)

Drones require a robust communication channel between the control station and the drone. You don't have to break encryption, you just have to jam the communication. The US has been spoiled lately by fights in which the enemy does not have effective mobile EW forces.

Re:Real War (3, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#44232303)

Drones require a robust communication channel between the control station and the drone.

Most current drones require an RF link. Future drones will likely use unjammable line-of-sight lasers to a relay (either a satellite or another drone). Even if the comm is jammed, they can be programmed to continue their mission. We don't have autonomous drones today for political reasons. But in a high-stakes war against a technologically equivalent adversary, we may be less squeamish.

Re:Real War (4, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#44232483)

We don't have autonomous drones today ...

You obviously don't watch CSPAN... :-)

Re:Real War (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44232757)

And we may face an even less squeamish adversary who uses autonomous drones to commit genocide.

Re:Real War (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about a year ago | (#44233021)

For major ops line of sight could be quite practical I'd imagine just run a constant stream of planes to and from the target. Also you can't jam everywhere so given enough targets ... The beauty with the drones is their duration the ability to switch pilots mid op etc means you could brief a few pilots each on a few different targets. Ones not available "Bob" takes over and hits the one he has been briefed on instead. Also most likely the weapons will be being used against the random crackpot dictatorships using 1970's era soviet equipment. Any technologically advanced enemy will likely be a 5+ year war and a whole new generation of weapons could be stamped out (well at least the old F35s dusted off and given an electronics upgrade).

Re:Real War (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44232543)

This is so true. Human pilots are not being phased out anytime soon.You turn a drone to fast and you lose the link. That is without the EW going on. The big thing with drones is the swap out capability for pilots and the removal of the pilot from harm. Every other metric they fail. They are not capable of dog fighting irregardless of what the GP thinks a drone is. They are only good at tracking and following a target for long periods of time and performing short air to ground engagements currently.

Re:Real War (2)

ttucker (2884057) | about a year ago | (#44232589)

Having the wing shadow a communications antenna while turning is not really an inherent limitation of drones, just one shitty problem with one drone.

Re:Real War (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44232271)

I suspect the real limiting factor on drones in a more heated warfare situation would be securing the lines of communications.

Let's get something straight: these are NOT AI controlled weapons platforms. They are NOT robots. They are radio controlled vehicles. There is a flesh and blood pilot sitting in a control room tens (or thousands) of miles from the battlefield directing the drone.

This means the drone must relay a relatively large amount of data back to its operator (visuals, flight data) and accept a small amount of data from its operator (flight control or, in a more advanced drone, subroutine selection) via an absolutely secure wireless channel. Of course, the communications channel will be as hardened as it can be, heavily encrypted, frequency hopping, you name it. But it is limited by the laws of physics. Throw a bright enough noise source in the way and it will be cut off.

One of the things that must worry the in the cockpit pilots is that everything Shanghai Bill says is absolutely correct. Drones will be able to turn harder and out perform any in the cockpit pilot. Period. So what's left for the in the cockpit fighter jocks? Wild weasel missions. Locating enemy jamming equipment and destroying it. Not all that glamorous.

Re:Real War (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44232647)

Drones are not cheap. The drones that actually shoot missiles and have all manner of cool autonomous capabilities cost more than an F-16, sometimes by an order of magnitude.

Drones are not a cost saving measure. They're just another growth market for the military-industrial complex which, like the F-35, have been sold as a cost saving measure but are really an excuse to sell more stuff to replace already working stuff. Our military is like a kid who blew a ton of money on the best gaming console one year, only to conclude the next that he needs the recently released portable model to be able to really enjoy his games. He was contented the first year, but changed his mind after he watched one too many advertisements convincing him he needs yet another new toy.

We need to ditch drones *and* the F-35. They're both boondoggles. We can move to drones when they become cheap and ubiquitous on the commercial market. Which is to say, 20+ years, if ever. The military does not need to stay on the bleeding edge. The ability to legitimately put bullets into people is all the technological edge any military needs over civilian markets. They should follow, rather than lead, technologically, and spend money on training and preparedness. The Israeli and Singaporean armies are at least as capable as ours, soldier-to-soldier, and they don't need all the bleeding edge technology. The Israelis kick butt with the scraps we throw away.

If the U.S. ever went to war with China, the reason we'd win is because of command-and-control of our assets and soldier professionalism, not because of billion dollar toys and their benchmark performance.

Re:Real War (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44232825)

You're cute. Really. Oh in ten years perhaps some of what you talk about will be possible. Sadly we are talking about the situation today....

Today all drones are is a stand off platform to drop bombs and missiles from. Look at their shape. They are straight wing. They are meant to fly straight and level all the time and operate in theaters were there is no or minimal credible threat. The days of drones operating independently in any meaningful way or even allowing for reasonable G maneuvers without the operator loosing his/her situational awareness is years off.

Someone told Canada in the 60s that the Avro Arrow was a big waste of money and we just needed to buy a bunch of Bomarc missiles. Fighters were obsolete didn't you know. Guesses how that went?? The shit-astic Bomarcs scraped and the even shittier Voodoo fighter bought in its place.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_Canada_CF-105_Arrow

I'm not saying the F-35 is all its cracked up to be and I sure don't think the F-22 was a wise use of defence dollars but going all drone isn't the way forward for the time being.

Re:Real War (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44231993)

By definition they are not. Because you would have to come up with every possible scenario that the enemy could design to outsmart your drones. Remember the V1, the first "drone", so to speak? English pilots came up with a clever (albeit quite dangerous) maneuver that could easily down them.

In Vietnam, the US made the mistake to only prepare for the "big war" against the USSR, ignoring minor conflicts that might appear. Planes didn't get guns anymore because "modern air combat will be fought beyond visual range. Then politicians came up with the stupidity that enemy planes first have to be visually identified. Not to mention that the long range air-to-air missiles of the time were unreliable at best and required an active lock (yeah, it's a really bright idea to fly straight towards and enemy plane coming at you with its weapons pointed your way...). In a nutshell, the USA relied on technology that was simply not ready to fill the role it should, coupled with political stupidity of epic dimensions.

I'd fear that this is heading towards the opposite. We're just preparing for an asymmetric war, ignoring the possibility that we might have to face an enemy of equal technological level. And while it is quite unlikely that there will be a full blown war between the USA and, say, China (just to name one country that might be some sort of threat, replace with your favorite boogeyman at leisure), if the past half century taught us anything then that proxy wars where one side is the US and the other side gets top level equipment from a "partner" are by no means far fetched.

Re:Real War (1)

blahbooboo (839709) | about a year ago | (#44232551)

In Vietnam, the US made the mistake to only prepare for the "big war" against the USSR, ignoring minor conflicts that might appear. Planes didn't get guns anymore because "modern air combat will be fought beyond visual range. Then politicians came up with the stupidity that enemy planes first have to be visually identified. Not to mention that the long range air-to-air missiles of the time were unreliable at best and required an active lock (yeah, it's a really bright idea to fly straight towards and enemy plane coming at you with its weapons pointed your way...). In a nutshell, the USA relied on technology that was simply not ready to fill the role it should, coupled with political stupidity of epic dimensions.

So what they said in the movie Top Gun during the training school about pilots losing the art of dogfighting in Vietnam was true?? :)

Re:Real War (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44233031)

Oddly, a movie is actually accurate in some degree. It was even named after the program [wikipedia.org] .

In a nutshell, Navy and Air Force drew different conclusions from the horrible aircraft loss rate during Rolling Thunder, and both were right. And, as usual with actually sensible programs in the military, funding was crappy at best in the beginning.

Re:Is Lepercy Fatal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44231671)

I only ask because the Air Force's drone pilots have been executing a holocaust of Muslims.

Oh please. You don't have to resort to Godwin to make a point, because it just winds up making you look like an idiot and hurts your cause. Even the worst estimates of the total number of casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq, regardless of drone or not drone, is but a fraction of the Holocaust's toll. If you count not just the Jewish toll but everyone else killed in the concentration camps, it's an order of magnitude lower.

Re:Is Lepercy Fatal? (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year ago | (#44231813)

You do realize the difference between 'a holocaust' and 'The Holocaust', right?

Re:Is Lepercy Fatal? (1)

ttucker (2884057) | about a year ago | (#44232667)

You do realize the difference between 'a holocaust' and 'The Holocaust', right?

So the original poster was trying to say that the Air Force is performing a ritual sacrifice of Muslims, specifically by burning them on an altar?

Re:Is Lepercy Fatal? (1)

Livius (318358) | about a year ago | (#44232833)

holo-caust = whole burn

It fits.

Re:Is Lepercy Fatal? (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year ago | (#44232917)

They are being consumed, and the means by which they are being consumed is often referred to as 'fire', so it's not an enormous stretch from the original literal meaning. For bonus points, it is a bit of ritual, since the targets are not neccessarily an actual threat, and the actions are being done to appease a powerful party that won't actually do anything for the benefit of those carrying out the ritual.

Re:Is Lepercy Fatal? (3, Informative)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about a year ago | (#44232919)

holocaust of Muslims.

False. "War against jihadis" is what is going on. No-one is waging war against Muslims. While jihadis are all Muslim, not all Muslims are jihadis (thank goodness! look at how great the people in Egyptian and Turkey are as they struggle for freedom using peaceful protest). It would be better of people stopped using words like "holocaust" and "genocide" when they don't match their defined uses. Leave it for the real thing, please. Killing a few thousand barbaric jihadis is not a "holocaust" in any way (like the Jewish Holocaust in Europe, or the Armenian Genocide etc). It is simply a fight between 21st Century Enlightenment Culture defending itself from jihadis that would like to replace it with a supremacist 7th Century Culture (under the Islamic poltical order and Sharia - their stated goals).

Skynet! (1)

Raystonn (1463901) | about a year ago | (#44231485)

Written by true Skynet operatives... we know who you are!

collateral damage makes them lepers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44231511)

The ease with which BHO will deploy drones to kill people without trial is scary, doing in countries we are not at war with is scary,
the number of Others that die in the attacks is indefensible.
They are not as accurate as they say. When the "Pilot" is thousands of miles away, they are a little quick on the trigger.

Re:collateral damage makes them lepers (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44231555)

The ease with which BHO will deploy drones to kill people without trial is scary, doing in countries we are not at war with is scary,
the number of Others that die in the attacks is indefensible.
They are not as accurate as they say. When the "Pilot" is thousands of miles away, they are a little quick on the trigger.

Well the point is that the media can't put a face on the pilot who blows up the kids.
Just another secrecy layer.

Btw. what the fuck is a "wind command"? I don't remember that from falcon 3.0

Re:collateral damage makes them lepers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44231807)

Fear not, Citizen. Glorious Leader Obummer is doing this to protect our freedoms!!!

Re:collateral damage makes them lepers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44232519)

The ease with which BHO will deploy drones to kill people without trial is scary

You may be trolling, but with Poe's Law in full effect I would like to share my thoughts on your post. That the President can do what you say is scary. That it is 'BHO' is largely irrelevant. To be sure, it is tempting to blame the man but the problem is systemic and historic. If you give a President the power to deploy special forces at will you create a fairly strong legal precedent for giving him discretion with drones. He's the Commander in Chief and we are at 'war'.

doing in countries we are not at war with is scary,

We are at 'war' with terrorists not countries.

the number of Others that die in the attacks is indefensible.

Death should make us somber. The death of our enemies at our hands, more so.

They are not as accurate as they say.

More than likely.

When the "Pilot" is thousands of miles away, they are a little quick on the trigger.

I'd like to see studies but my instinct is the adrenaline from danger would make a pilot quicker to fire. That is if we think a pilot in a plane would feel in danger against most of our current adversaries.

We have a systemic problem. And it's not just a particular person. Congress has given the President far too much discretion in warfare over the years. Perhaps we should make Congress declare and define a specific war before deploying troops or drones. Imagine a world where the President can only attack people in a specific country of declared war. We should put something like that in the Constitution. Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan? There should be 3 options. Pakistan turns him over. Congress declares war on Pakistan. We do nothing. It might not be the most efficient way to do things but it is the right way.

Navy too. (2)

kk49 (829669) | about a year ago | (#44231553)

You have to be/have been a pilot or navigator to captain an aircraft carrier. (I wrote a paper about this in the 90s...) and the US hard-on for aircraft carriers ain't going away anytime soon.

Re:Navy too. (1)

Aristos Mazer (181252) | about a year ago | (#44231695)

> aircraft carriers ain't going away anytime soon

Gotta have someplace to park the drones, right? How are the rolling drones for repairing the flying drones coming along?

Re:Navy too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44231739)

the US hard-on for aircraft carriers ain't going away anytime soon.

I hate those things. As a US citizen, from time-to-time they cause me concern. If I were in the Navy and responsible for the direction of things I would not sleep if I thought of carriers before I went to bed. They've been dominating the seas for what, 60 years now? That's a huge ammount of time. It's this giant, nuclear powered single point of failure that the enemy has had a lot of time to think about. it's only a matter of time before they end up like star destroyers or alien mother ships. Some Chinese guy is going to plug a Mac into it, type furiously, and destroy the North American Empire. Then what? Build another one real quick? Yeah, sure. These guys should be embracing the whole "lots of cheap tech that we can crank out by the thousands if necessary" approach, since it had a lot to do with winning the last major global conflict. But NooooO. Sheesh. It practically writes itself...

Re:Navy too. (3, Interesting)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about a year ago | (#44231941)

It's this giant, nuclear powered single point of failure that the enemy has had a lot of time to think about.

10. We have 10 Nimitz-class carriers. With 3 Ford-class ones being built.

And the counter to Carriers, and ships in general, are submarines. And yes, the Chinese have been showboating dicks about it and manage to surface an electric sub within an alarming distance to our carrier group. Maybe they got lucky, but it's really only an option for a brown water navy, as nuclear engines are too loud to get away with that. And who knows, our sonar might have gotten better since then.

Also, you know, NUKES. Oh, yeah, that's right, the entire point of our massive show of naval force and it's ability to stand off against other first-world nations has been obsolete since ICBM's took over. Does everyone really forget this so easily?

(Also also, simple speedboats loaded with explosives and a suicide crew, see the Millenium Challenge [wikipedia.org] where one such retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper who is the type who thinks these things manage to take a third-world force and hand our simulated asses to us. )

But no, carriers allow us to project some force onto third world nations pretty much as soon as they can scoot to the nearest port.

Some Chinese guy is going to plug a Mac into it, type furiously, and destroy the North American Empire. Then what?

We Nuke Them All.

Re:Navy too. (1)

mbkennel (97636) | about a year ago | (#44232165)

"(Also also, simple speedboats loaded with explosives and a suicide crew, see the Millenium Challenge [wikipedia.org] where one such retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper who is the type who thinks these things manage to take a third-world force and hand our simulated asses to us. )"

Some comments about that.

a) Yes, General Riper had a very good strategy.
b) The US Navy learned from the results.
c) The 'simple speedboats' were not what did in the USN in that simulation. Riper launched, in a simultaneous surprise attack, *hundreds* of anti-shipping cruise and rocket-powered *guided missiles* to destroy the Navy's sensors and air launch facilities. It was the missiles which were the power, the speedboats were just suicide torpedoes to sink already crippled ships.

Really, what chance would 40 knot suicide speedboats have against an aware Navy which had attack helicopters and F-18's? Missiles and submarines are dangerous, not light surface craft with no modern weaponry.

Re:Navy too. (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44231949)

Hey sonny, we won the Big One with flat tops, and with them we've lost nothing since (not that we've actually had a major naval engagement since WWII, but still). Just because the battle wagon went the way of the dodo, doesn't mean the flat top ever will. Besides, flying planes is cool.

Re:Navy too. (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#44232167)

I think the next phase will be missile carriers. Missiles are basically drones, so you just build relatively low cost, low profile ships which are really fast and stock them with lots and lots and lots of spectre-style persistent drones and missiles of every shape and colour, along with a double broadside battery of CIWSs. Fast, able to hand out the hurt and protect itself from speedboats/aerial attack, and not a huge loss if it gets sunk. Set up a network of a dozen of these boats changing configuration with overlapping CIWS fields and use it as a massive floating deathbot.

Re: Navy too. (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44232535)

We have them
Arleigh Burke destroyers, aegis cruisers and fast attack subs all fire cruise missiles. Along with our strategic bombers from 2000 miles away

Well, duh (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#44231569)

Nobody wants to see some pocket-protector-wearing nerd trying to bed Kelly McGillis. Plus the fight scenes would've been incredibly boring.

Don't be so closed minded (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | about a year ago | (#44231889)

Nobody wants to see some pocket-protector-wearing nerd trying to bed Kelly McGillis.

As opposed to a midget in elevator shoes?

Plus the fight scenes would've been incredibly boring.

I don't know. Seems to me that the whole video-game-that's-really-combat angle has worked in the past...

Besides, I'd say that since drones can pull g forces that would kill or incapacitate pilots, those fight scenes would kick ass.

Re:Don't be so closed minded (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year ago | (#44232047)

There is a problem with the defeats becoming more or less meaningless, though. If you lose Goose as a drone pilot, Goose just gets another drone. Then Maverick and Iceman just see continue to see each other as assholes

Re:Well, duh (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#44232189)

I googled her and now I'm sad that I did.

Occam's Safety Razor (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44231585)

Sometimes, things need to be reduced to their simplest, most direct form to make clear their complete uselessness.

Drones are the military's Reductio Ad Absurdum.

It's the mafia, stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44231643)

First it was the Bomber Mafia [wikipedia.org] , then it was the Fighter Mafia [wikipedia.org] , and now... what? The Manned Mafia?

Autonomous drones are cheaper and better-suited to just about any conceivable task the Air Force could invent. (For everything else, there's long range anti aircraft missiles vastly more agile than their targets.)

Re:It's the mafia, stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44231943)

First it was the Bomber Mafia [wikipedia.org] , then it was the Fighter Mafia [wikipedia.org] , and now... what? The Manned Mafia?

Autonomous drones are cheaper and better-suited to just about any conceivable task the Air Force could invent. (For everything else, there's long range anti aircraft missiles vastly more agile than their targets.)

Oh yeah, autonomous drones are useful against farmers in some god forsaken part of the world.
Give combatants some SAM hand held missiles and your fleet of drones is going to come down crashing and burning. Also manned fighter planes can take down drones, can you take down a drone with another drone ? Don't think so.
Are you going to protect an airspace with drones ? ROTFL.
Are you going to protect a country with drones ? ROTFL
Are you going to wage war with drones (bombing campaigns like during the yugoslavia bombings in 1999) ? ROTFL
Are you going to protect the 6th fleet, 7th fleet and the other us fleets around the world with drones ? ROTFL
Are you going to use drones as interceptors ? ROTFL

Drones are good for one fucking thing : targeted assassinations. And remote surveillance (and even this can be countered by a modern enemy).

Re:It's the mafia, stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44231991)

You are hilariously short sighted. Go back to sucking fighter pilot cock.

Re:It's the mafia, stupid (3, Insightful)

Kell Bengal (711123) | about a year ago | (#44232699)

Hello, UAV researcher here. The answer to all of your questions is "Yes".

Let's break it down:
1. A UAV is not limited by the g-constraints of human pilots
2. A UAV will be 300+ kg lighter than a similar manned fighter
3. A UAV does not get tired at night or during extended operations
4. A UAV benefits from the same targeting systems humans use
5. A UAV will unwaveringly sacrifice itself to make a kill if commanded.
6. A radio-silent UAV with preprogrammed orders and terrain databases is no more jammable than a conventional aircraft.

Within 15 more years of development, there will not be a manned aircraft that can survive against a UCAV.

Re:It's the mafia, stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44232929)

Hello, UAV researcher here. The answer to all of your questions is "Yes".

Let's break it down:

1. A UAV is not limited by the g-constraints of human pilots

2. A UAV will be 300+ kg lighter than a similar manned fighter

3. A UAV does not get tired at night or during extended operations

4. A UAV benefits from the same targeting systems humans use

5. A UAV will unwaveringly sacrifice itself to make a kill if commanded.

6. A radio-silent UAV with preprogrammed orders and terrain databases is no more jammable than a conventional aircraft.

Within 15 more years of development, there will not be a manned aircraft that can survive against a UCAV.

The last famous words.
Moreover in 15 years avionics and weapons systems as well as defense systems will have improved to such a point as to make the use of drones useless outside of surveillance and one shot kills in 3rd, 4th world countries.
We are a long long way from having F-15 or F-18 drones with autonomous AI. Until that day comes, manned aircarft will always be superior to drones.

Re:It's the mafia, stupid (1)

peragrin (659227) | about a year ago | (#44232265)

well drones are good for everything but thinking, and real time data processing. In case you didn't realize it but drones have a several second delay between button push and reaction. Something to do with Speed of light and satellite communications.

Drones are only good after an airspace has been cleared of enemy combat aircraft. Otherwise they are sitting ducks, easily jammed, easily spoofed, easily fooled by any technologically advanced group. Iran may not have stolen a drone but I bet it did interfere enough for it to crash in a given area.

Drones will be next to useless against Russia, china, Drug cartels(eventually), etc.

The time has come to move forward (4, Insightful)

Ereth (194013) | about a year ago | (#44231661)

As a former Naval Aircrewman, and an all around "flying is awesome" kind of geek (I knew I wanted to fly when I was 3), I have to say I understand the reticence. Flying is awesome. It's hard to give up something you love doing.

At the same time, the cost-benefit analysis is swinging/has swung towards unmanned craft. They can have performance envelopes that won't allow a human inside. They can have significant cost savings in not having to protect the human inside.

Situational Awareness is big, but we do that with the Electronic Battlefield now. Some years ago I was very much in the "you'll never replace a pilot in the cockpit" side of the argument. Now.. I think the F-35, a fighter I so desperately wanted, should be eliminated, and replaced with drones. Times change. Technology changes. We all love the Sopwith Camel and the P-51, but you wouldn't use either one in a modern war.

It's going to be a difficult political move, but it's the right move, long term. And it took me many years before I could say that without gritting my teeth first. :)

Re:The time has come to move forward (4, Insightful)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year ago | (#44231901)

You are forgetting the politics side of things. Anybody we've been fighting could be wiped out by the tech we had decades ago. The battles the US military is engaged in involve hearts and minds, and drones are very bad from that perspective.

Re:The time has come to move forward (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#44231979)

that's what they said about guided missiles. It's the future, guns are obsolete because jets are so fast now, all air combat will be beyond visual range.

Remote control drones are fine when your adversaries are third-world terrorists hiding in a mud hut. Hell you don't even need any fighters, they have no air force; air superiority is yours by default. All you need is bombers and tankers.

But what happens when you fight a more advanced enemy? Drones are useless without radio, and radio is vulnerable to jamming or spoofing.

Re:The time has come to move forward (3, Informative)

mbkennel (97636) | about a year ago | (#44232197)

"that's what they said about guided missiles. It's the future, guns are obsolete because jets are so fast now, all air combat will be beyond visual range."

It wasn't completely true in 1968. Today, it actually is. Simulations and training are more realistic---the side which can get off targeted missiles before being targeted wins.

Guided missiles are single-purpose drones.

Re:The time has come to move forward (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44232077)

Its all good, having both around is the best idea.

Going one direction just puts you in a position of weakness.

Drones of today simply can't carry the payload, and aren't likely to any time soon.

Take a look at your average F/A 18E's ordinance capability [wikipedia.org] :

F18
Hardpoints: 11 total: 2× wingtips, 6× under-wing, and 3× under-fuselage with a capacity of
17,750 lb (8,050 kg) external fuel and ordnance, plus a WIDE variety of ordnance.
Crew of 1.

B17 Bomber
Short range missions (400 mi): 8,000 lb (3,600 kg)
Long range missions (800 mi): 4,500 lb (2,000 kg)
Crew of 10 (count em: ten)

Drone: Predator B
Payload: 3,800 lb (1,700 kg) Maximum. Limited variety.
Crew 1 (remote)

Nobody has ever been in a dogfight with a drone. That day may come, but when it does the drone is going to
look a lot more like a F18 than a Predator.

Drones are only useful against a unsophisticated enemy with no air support and no jamming capability.

Re:The time has come to move forward (1)

mbkennel (97636) | about a year ago | (#44232283)

"Nobody has ever been in a dogfight with a drone. That day may come, but when it does the drone is going to
look a lot more like a F18 than a Predator."

It will look more like a B-2 on a diet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_Grumman_X-47B [wikipedia.org]

Re:The time has come to move forward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44232369)

When was the last dogfight The US Air force participated in?
So 5 Predators can carry as much bombs as a single F18. What is the cost of 5 drones vs 1 fighter?
The normal American war strategy ever since the Civil war has been attrition. This strategy will clearly work against most countries with the exception of China and Russia. Drones being so cheap they can be used in enough quantities to overwhelm defenses.

Re:The time has come to move forward (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#44232411)

It's going to be a difficult political move, but it's the right move, long term. And it took me many years before I could say that without gritting my teeth first. :)

Unfortunately, military doctrines don't change as easily as soldier's minds. In every major war there has been a side that embraced the new, and a side that kept with the tactics of the last war. And you may well guess which side won.

If the United States doesn't get on board with drone warfare, somebody else will, and then we'll be a sitting duck.

Re:The time has come to move forward (2)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year ago | (#44232593)

I'm going to have to disagree with you because there simply are things that a manned aircraft can do that simply cannot be done by a remotely piloted one.

Sure, you can tell something to go fly over there and blow up that spot or even program it to go find a specific target you can define well enough that a computer can find the desired target. Cruse missiles are GREAT stand off weapons and we've been doing this kind of thing for years, albeit in a pretty expensive way. We've vastly improved on such weapons since the V2 of WW2.

But, you are going to need a man in the loop when attacking multiple kinds of targets or targets that move. An example would be close air support of ground troops. There is no way you are going to be as effective flying CAS missions when the pilot is multiple satellite hops delayed or be able to properly plan an ingress route, weapon release point, target location and egress route, upload it as quickly as a pilot in the aircraft can.

But, I think the issue really is communications. If your planning to do more than launch a cruse missile and forget it, you are going to need to communicate with your fleet of drones so you can at least task them. If you want to get video or stills from the drones so you can actually take a look at what you are shooting at, that takes lots of bandwidth. All this has latency requirements too. The more you have the man in the loop, the more bandwidth, lower bit error rates and lower latency your communications have to be. However, communications links are both hard to establish and even harder to maintain, especially if your adversaries are even slightly technologically capable. Jamming data links is not that hard.

If you communicate with the drone (and a lot of useful missions require bi-directional communications) then stealth is out the window. Why bother with stealth aircraft if you put a RF transmitter on board? It's like trying to hide a lighthouse at night..

Manned aircraft don't suffer from the communications issue. You can explain to a pilot what you want him to do, send him up in an armed aircraft and wait for him to come back. He can manage the task if the target moves or shows up in the wrong place. He can react to unforeseen circumstances and modify how he executes his task and still achieve the goals. You don't have to watch what he's doing to make sure the mission continues and you don't have to talk to him along the way. You can send him in a stealth aircraft and not need to put a RF source on it too.

Manned aircraft, fighters, bombers and the rest are going to be around a long time yet. Just like autopilots haven't done away with pilots, drones will not do away with them either. Sure, there are special cases where drones are good solutions, but manned aircraft are here to stay.

misleading summary? (1)

bdabautcb (1040566) | about a year ago | (#44231663)

In a 2008 speech, General Norton Schwarz, who served as AF chief from 2008 to 2012, did not mince words when he said that this systemic obsession with all-things manned has turned the Air Force's swelling drone ranks into a 'leper colony.' That doesn't sound like deep rooted stigma to me, that sounds like a man with a plan.

Other reasons? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about a year ago | (#44231711)

There are plenty of other reasons why you wouldn't want to tele-operate combat vehicles ranging from ethical to technical. Setting the ethical aside, one of the most glaring reasons why you would want to retain manned vehicles would be the mitigation of the risk that someone would jack or jam your drones.

Re:Other reasons? (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year ago | (#44231863)

Pretty much.

For the wars of the day drones are great tech, since the other side has basically no anti aircraft assets of any sort. But not every war is going to be against a country that was bombed for a decade and had no air defences, or against a bunch of light infantry insurgents fighting from tunnels in a country with no appreciable air force for 30 years.

The entire challenge of military planning is figuring out what assets you need for the types of wars you'll end up in. And that's not trivial since you never know who is going to have a revolution or go crazy and start the next war you find yourself in.

Same old. Ask A-10 Pilots (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44231719)

Plus those that fly tankers, and trasnport planes: They're constantly passed over for assignments and promotions in favor of fighter pilots.

Might be a good idea for once (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44231721)

Apparently drones cause lots more civilian deaths, or "collateral damage", which the military is somehow not keen on admitting. Since most of the warring these days isn't on battlefields but in "theatres" full of civilians... yeah.

Shockwave Runner, wasn't it? (3, Interesting)

Bookwyrm (3535) | about a year ago | (#44231735)

Think it was John Brunner's "The Shockwave Runner", which had the phrase: "There are two kinds of fools -- one who says this is old and therefore good, and the other which says this is new and therefore better."

Re:Shockwave Runner, wasn't it? (3, Informative)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about a year ago | (#44232553)

"The Shockwave Rider"

Re:Shockwave Runner, wasn't it? (1)

Bookwyrm (3535) | about a year ago | (#44232659)

Ah, right. Thanks.

Wait... what sort of comparison is that? (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about a year ago | (#44231747)

Nevermind that the AF's active remotely-piloted combat aircraft outnumber its active manned bomber inventory by about 2-to-1.

I can kind of understand only counting active aircraft, by why are you comparing combat aircraft to bombers? Why not, you know, compare remotely-piloted combat aircraft to manned combat aircraft.

Also... they way they label "militant combatants" now a days would probably get my $60 toy with a camera on it classified as combat aircraft. Comparing the capabilities of the B-2 to my quadcopter is laughable.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

And all that doesn't do a damned thing to country the thrust of the main idea that Air-force has a bunch of ego maniacs desperately trying to hold onto their out-dated jobs. It's like the battleship at any point past the start of WWII.

Re:Wait... what sort of comparison is that? (1)

bpkiwi (1190575) | about a year ago | (#44232101)

Because drones at the moment are much closer to the bomber role than the fighter role. They are armed with air to ground ordinance, they are turbo-prop driven, and operate only in uncontested airspace.

The current generation of drones would be mostly ineffective in a battle against an enemy with an air force of their own. Even a 3rd generation fighter aircraft could take out modern drones without trying very hard, and I believe they can't presently arm drones such as the MQ-9 Reaper with air to air missiles (although they are working on that).

Re:Wait... what sort of comparison is that? (1)

FirephoxRising (2033058) | about a year ago | (#44232633)

Yes the manned planes are currently superior, but when they have air to air capability, how many of them can your plane handle? 10? 20? How about 100? The T34 was inferior to the best German tanks, but it was good enough (and cheap enough) and there were shitloads of them......

Re:Wait... what sort of comparison is that? (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year ago | (#44232403)

Well all current combat drones are strike aircraft. There are no air-to-air specialist drones yet.

Murphy's Law of Computing at play here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44231751)

"To screw up is human, to screw up royally requires a computer."
Just imagine an all drone air force! We'd cut costs! Save lives of pilots! Out-preform humans!
Please never mind that fact that the enemy is just one encryption key away from commandeering your entire fleet and using it against you. Pff... Details...

It's the future. Unavoidable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44231755)

Modern high-tech combat has been asymmetric electronically assisted fire-from-umpteen-miles-away anyway. Replacing the heavy, fragile meat packages that press the button is an inevitable. Cheap as hell too. Why have one expensive fighter when you can have bunches of cheap drones that operate the same sort of weapon systems? The human is a costly liability. Expensive to train, expensive to lose.

I don't think anyone saw it coming this soon. The stuff unmanned aircraft can to today is staggering, but the automation of military aircraft has been happening since the 60s. The human is just the last system to be swapped out for another electronics package.

Drones work better without pilots (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#44231809)

Both the USAF and the U.S. Army field Predators. The Army has them driven by sergeants, and has autoland installed. The USAF has them driven by officer pilots, and refuses to have autoland installed on their birds. [dodbuzz.com]

USAF drone crash rates are much higher than Army crash rates.

Re:Drones work better without pilots (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44232019)

I always thought it was interesting that (AFAIK) the air force and navy will only let officers be pilots, but in the army non-coms can pilot helicopters. Seems like they've carried that over to drones too. Personally I call the person who drives a chauffeur. Nothing wrong with the work, but it's not usually considered a very skilled position.

P.S. Are drones a way around the idiotic restriction on the army's use of fixed wing aircraft?

Re: Drones work better without pilots (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44232561)

Non coms can't fly helicopters, warrant officers can
To be a warrant you first have to go to college, get accepted to the warrant officer school, pass it and then apply for flight school

They have a much worse problem than that... (1)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | about a year ago | (#44231831)

What are they going to do when the ENEMY's planes are all drones? Note that an enemy with a big pile of drones can, just like we do now, send them out with relative impunity without worry about casualties in the air. Right now we're fighting against low-tech forces so we've gotten spoiled. Low-tech forces may not always be the enemy.

Re:They have a much worse problem than that... (1)

tempest69 (572798) | about a year ago | (#44231957)

We make fighter drones.. with frikkin laser beams attached to their heads.

Re:They have a much worse problem than that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44231967)

What are they going to do when the ENEMY's planes are all drones? Note that an enemy with a big pile of drones can, just like we do now, send them out with relative impunity without worry about casualties in the air. Right now we're fighting against low-tech forces so we've gotten spoiled. Low-tech forces may not always be the enemy.

There are very, very few nations capable of fielding high tech forces that would make the US forces worry. People go on and on about how those Iraqi MiG 21/23/26s were still dangerous but their pilots were nowhere near as well trained as US pilots, their aircraft were at least a decade out of date and the pilots had zero situational awareness. Most of those Iraqi pilots took to the air knowing that they'd be killed otherwise Saddam would take his rage out on their families. It was a turkey shoot.

Re:They have a much worse problem than that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44232185)

There are very, very few nations capable of fielding high tech forces that would make the US forces worry.

No need for 'high tech'. A (large) RC plane with a video camera is not 'high tech' these days - you can buy them mass produced and reasonably cheap. Now add a rpg warhead, and attack enemies. Fuel transports, anyone with a high rank, ...

Re:They have a much worse problem than that... (1)

mbkennel (97636) | about a year ago | (#44232235)

A few years previously the Iraqi air force was waxed by the Iranian air force with F-14's.

Even today the Iranian air force, with the same F-14's would be much more of a challenge. (F-14's were built for carrier duty--if you use them only on nice tarmac in a dry desert, they last quite a long time).

Re:They have a much worse problem than that... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44232033)

an enemy with a big pile of drones can, just like we do now, send them out with relative impunity without worry about casualties in the air

All the more reason not to send Snoopy and his Sopwith Camel against them, nostalgia notwithstanding.

Re:They have a much worse problem than that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44232729)

Hmm... where are all the enemy drones coming from? Would their bases and C3 systems not be targeted initially first before they got a chance to become airborne?

"The Leper Colony"... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44231881)

...Nickname of Maj. Kong's B-52 in 'Dr. Strangelove'.

manned because they need a real backup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44231887)

they/we need a backup against an all out cyber attack which might take out the drone command and control or block it either at the source or in the theater of operation. So, having real pilots and real pilot-in-cockpit controlled protection should be a no brainer. The number is going to be the sticking point with some wanting only a few and others wanting a 100% backup.

Wrong title - should be "love for the F-35" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44231895)

The article explains how various RPA acquisition programs are being cut. I think the reason for the cuts is not the resistance of the manned aircraft pilots (RPA operators are considered pilots, too, even though the training is now different); the cuts are because the F-35 is so freaking expensive that it's crowding out everything else. Maybe it's a chicken-and-egg scenario, where the F-35 is desired by the pilots, and the AF can't cut the pilots because they are needed in order to fly the F-35. I don't really buy this, though, because there are a lot of other manned aircraft that need pilots, too.

I'd bet that if the F-35 was more reasonably priced, the AF would be happy to fund RPA acquisition programs alongside manned aircraft programs. But the F-35 costs are not going down anytime soon, and the RPAs are (presumably) projected to be needed less with AfPak winding down, so the RPAs are being cut.

Simple way to settle the debate (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44231973)

A simple way to settle the debate is to have our unmanned forces attack our manned forces and see who wins. I'm putting $100 on unmanned, and I'll give you 2:1 odds.

More Qualified (1)

halsver (885120) | about a year ago | (#44231989)

No disrespect to C10 pilots, but aren't fighter\bomber pilots the top of their class? I'm not a USAF vet, but I would think most fighter pilots scored higher than other pilots at flight school.

Not to say that makes them better leaders...

Re:More Qualified (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44232061)

I would think most fighter pilots scored higher than other pilots at flight school

True, but they bias the results by only testing against human pilots.

Editing? Poorly Written (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about a year ago | (#44232057)

It's as if drones pose such a threat to traditional means of aerial warfare that the flying service's historically kneejerk resistance to anything too closely aligned with sweeping technological change finds it bristling today at prospective gamechangers of the unmanned sort.

That sentence is an absolute mess.

Not technical considerations but legal ones will l (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44232137)

Considering that the current use of drones is on VERY shaky legal ground with respect to our treaty obligations and other relevant international law, expanding the use to the full theater of combat would essentially be a declaration of the U.S.' intention to repudiate, among other agreements, the Geneva Convention and the U.N. charter.

See Leila Sadat, America's Drone Wars [case.edu]

Poorly Written (2)

super_scalt (2978137) | about a year ago | (#44232211)

This article is emotionally charged and poorly written with no real figures to back up your claims.. "In other words, 'the ratio of wing-command opportunities for RPA pilots versus those who fly manned combat aircraft is a staggering 1-to-26.'" No it's not. To tell us the ratio of opportunities for pilots you also need to take into account how many pilots there are in each field. If there are 26 times more fighter pilots than drone pilots then opportunities for a given pilot are roughly the same. The numbers you quote earlier don't even give us a hint as to the number of these pilots as you simply compare DRONE AIRCRAFT vs BOMBER AIRCRAFT then go on to compare DRONE WING COMMANDS vs FIGHTER WING COMMANDS. I don't care if your article represents the general spirit of what is happening in the U.S.A.F with regard to drone pilots, if you want to convince anyone with a shred of critical thinking don't go throwing around unrelated 'fun facts' then try and tie them together to shore up an emotionally charged train-wreck. On the upside you pissed me off enough to go and create this account....

USAF Combat experience, path to becoming General (3, Informative)

russbutton (675993) | about a year ago | (#44232221)

I spent four years in USAF as an officer in the late 1970s.

It stands to reason that you'd expect your general officers in the military to have combat experience. As USAF has historically been a manned aircraft oriented organization, it stands to reason that fighter pilots would be the people who eventually become USAF generals. After all, the first mission of the military is to fight our wars and you want people who have first-hand knowledge as your leaders.

USAF is very adverse to losing fighter aircraft because they are trying to protect pilots. It only stands to reason. That's also why un-manned aircraft are so much less expensive. I believe there is a need for both manned and un-manned aircraft. Wherever you can, un-manned aircraft are preferable because they are so much less costly, but just as there is a case to be made for manned space travel, so there are times when you want humans flying combat missions.

But beyond all this, you still have the human issues of organization. It is the military's way that *ALL* officers are in training to become generals, and they only keep a small percentage of them around long enough to reach 20 years. In USAF, you go before the major's board at the 12 year mark. If you are passed over for major twice, you have to either leave USAF or accept demotion to the enlisted ranks, to finish out your 20 years and retire as a captain. This gets rid of well over half your officer staff. There aren't a lot of guys willing to take a demotion to enlisted for 6 years so they can stick around for a captain's retirement pension.

I don't know if drone operators are officers or enlisted. Either way, can you call a drone operator a combat experienced person you want to eventually become general? USAF has a problem here.

Wait, what? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#44232261)

the flying service's historically kneejerk resistance to anything too closely aligned with sweeping technological change

Wait, what? What planet does he live on? Historically the USAF has been quite the opposite - chasing sweeping technological change whether it made sense or the technology was truly ready for the prime time. You want kneejerk resistance, you want the Navy, especially my fellow bubbleheads in the submarine service.
 
This isn't about technology, it's about social change - and that has always been been a tug-of-war in the USAF between the fighter and bomber communities.

Our military is mostly expensive social welfare (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year ago | (#44232643)

'Weaponized Keynesianism' I've heard it called. About the only way you can get the top to give anything to the bottom is to scare them enough. Eisenhower wrote about it in his memoirs. The whole 'Military Industrial Complex'. Apart from that we run around the world ensuring corporations have safe, cheap labor (there's a general who wrote a book about being a Mob Enforcer for Fruit Companies).

Anyway, point is, automating our Military seems pointless. If we take away the pork all that's left is a particularly nasty way to make sure corporations get their way.

geeks that play games vs real pilots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44232677)

Oh poor little geeks..
Don't get the respect real pilots do...
Big deal..
They don't deserve it..

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